All posts by Jen Thorpe

60dB is Shutting Down

If you visit the 60dB website, you will see a message titled “Goodbye”. It is unclear how long that message will remain, because the company behind 60dB has become part of the team at Google.

60dB was an app that was designed to bring people today’s best news and stories. It was created by Tiny Garage Labs.

The app featured timely, personalized stories on the topics that people cared about. Originally, 60dB was an iOS app. (At the time I am writing this, it is no longer possible to download the app from iTunes.) Later, 60dB became available on Android, the web, Alexa, Android Auto and CarPlay.

The “Goodbye” message from 60dB, which was posted on October 10, 2017, is where the co-founders of 60dB announced that they will be shutting down 60dB on Friday, November 10, 2017. They also announced that they would be joining the team at Google.

As we considered next steps for 60dB, we came to the conclusion that to accomplish our goals we’d be better positioned if we joined someone with scale who shared our vision for what was possible with digital audio.

The 60dB app will soon be gone, but a handful of the stories have been saved. Members of the 60dB editorial team picked some of their favorite stories from the 60dB app and put made them accessible on Medium. It is called The 60dB Archives.

TechCrunch reported that a Google spokesperson confirmed to them that Google had “purchased some assets” of Tiny Garage Labs, and that members of the team would be joining Google.

Oxford Writers’ House has a Podcasting Workshop

Oxford Writers’ House was launched in the Spring of 2016 as a hub for the writers in the universities and city of Oxford. On their website, they offer resources for authors of all backgrounds, provide Oxford-based academic and creative writing support, and more. Oxford Writers’ House has a Podcasting Workshop.

The workshop is titled “Writing for Audio Drama and Podcasting: an Evening with Robert Valentine and Liz Campbell”. It will be held on November 8, 2017. The workshop will take place in Oxford in the United Kingdom. You can book tickets now.

75 million people listen to podcasts every month. With huge audiences and low production costs the audio drama and podcast form are becoming an increasingly tantalizing form to writers wanting to tell the very best stories to a huge and engaged audience.

Attend the workshop to find out about the opportunities audio drama brings to your writing. It will also teach you all about writing, commissioning, producing, and how to get inspired to write some of your own audio dramas.

Although the Oxford Writers’ house is primarily aimed at helping writers, this specific workshop could also provide inspiration and assistance for podcasters who want to create an audio drama. There is an art to it that is not the same as doing a podcast where two or more people discuss the news of the day.

Mixcloud Announces Direct Licensing Deal with Warner Music Group

Mixcloud announced that they have a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group. This is Mixcloud’s first direct deal with a major record label.

This new recorded music licensing agreement with Warner Music Group will usher in a direct relationship and a new phase for Mixcloud. The deal will enable an innovative subscription offering that allows fans to subscribe to individual creator channels for a more interactive listening experience. This approach will help audio creators on the platform monetize their content by developing a new marketplace for audio subscriptions.

The Mixcloud platform offers a diverse collection of serialized, long-form, and exclusive audio content – over 12 million radio shows, DJ sets, and Podcasts. Their platform’s proprietary Content ID system is capable of identifying individual tracks within long-form user generated audio, tracks usage data, and currently pays out royalties to local collecting societies such as SoundExchange and the performing rights societies in the U.S.

Music Business Worldwide reported that the licensing deal between Mixcloud and Warner Music Group will enable Mixcloud to start building new subscription products. The expectation is that direct deals like the one struck with Warner Music Group will allow Mixcloud to offer more on-demand services – and to charge for them.

Sonix Helps Podcasters Transcribe their Audio

Sonix was founded in 2017 in San Francisco, California. Sonix wants to help storytellers tell better stories, even if just by a little bit. They are striving to do their part in changing how people create, consume, and share not only their stories, but each others’ stories. Sonix can help podcasters transcribe their audio.

Sonix has an informative blog post titled “5 Reasons You Should Transcribe Your Podcast”. It includes the following paragraph:

By creating a text version of your podcast, you have created a place where Google can crawl and index your content. Yes, the title, tags, and description of the audio will help, but they aren’t a substitute for the entire transcript. And you might say something incredibly obscure in your podcast. There’s probably someone out there looking for that nugget of information.

Sonix transcribes your recordings so you and your team can be more productive, less stressed, and just a little bit happier. Sonix transcribes, timestamps, and organizes your audio and video files so they are easy to search, edit, and share. They offer a free trial (where the first hour of transcription is free.)

Some Sonix features include:

  • Quick turnaround
  • Easy uploading – Their drag-and-drop interface lets you securely upload your audio and video files in record time.
  • Fast transcription – Sonix’s automated algorithms will transcribe in less time than the length of your recording.
  • Email notifications – Sonix will send you an email when they are finished transcribing.

If you decide that Sonix is useful for you, there are two ways to pay for their service. Transcription costs $8.00 per hour. Membership costs $10/month, billed annually, or $15/month, billed monthly.

Charlie Rose Held a Podcast Roundtable

Charlie Rose is an acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist. He engages America’s best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, and business leaders. Recently, he added “podcasters” to that list. Charlie Rose held a Podcast Roundtable in early October of 2017.

At the time I am writing this, the Podcast Roundtable episode is available to view on the Charlie Rose website. There is also a full transcript available. Charlie Rose started the Podcast Roundtable with:

We are living in the midst of a podcast boom. With the rise of mobile, more people are consuming content in transit than ever before. Podcast has also benefited from the power of audio which many have called the most intimate form of media.

Charlie Rose identified the podcasters that took part in the Podcast Roundtable as “four people leading the podcast revolution.” They were:

  • Alex Blumberg, the co-founder and CEO of Gimlet Media
  • Andy Bowers, the founder and chief content officer at Panoply Media
  • Paula Szuchman, the vice president of On-Demand Content at WNYC and WNYC Studios
  • Jed Abumrad, the creator and co-host of Radio Lab and More Perfect

Some of the topics they covered include:

  • Accessibility of podcasts – both in terms of starting one and in terms of listening to one
  • What do the most successful podcasts have?
  • Information about the More Perfect podcast
  • Has podcasting been an opportunity for women?
  • Advertising and making money from podcasting
  • How is podcasting changing? How is it evolving?

Podiant is Ending their Free Hosting

Podiant used to offer professional-grade podcast hosting for free. The company will cease offering free plans and is switching to hosting plans that cost money. Podcasters who currently have their podcast hosted on Podiant will need to switch to a paid plan. Podiant explains the need for change this way:

Most of our users – the vast, vast majority – use Podiant completely free of charge, and don’t subscribe to our Patreon. That’s fine, except Podiant is not a large company with millions of dollars of investment behind it, and we don’t want to make money off your content or by selling banner ads. Podiant was designed to give a voice to those who might now have one, built on the belief that the community would support our efforts.

Over the past week, we’ve seen a huge influx of traffic that we’re struggling – and often failing – to keep up with. Storage and bandwidth aren’t a problem; we just can’t afford the computing power right now to handle all the feed requests.

Podiant is going to offer two new plans: Professional and Community. The Professional plan is $12.99 a month. More information about that plan will be released “in the coming days”. Podcasters who were already on the $15 or $30 plans will be able to migrate to the new Professional plan (which offers exactly the same features that the other paid plans did).

If you are using Podiant for free hosting, or are on the old $5 a month plan, things are going to change. Users on either of those two plans will have to do one of three things:

  • Upgrade to the Professional plan. (Podiant has a discount code available).
  • Apply for a space in the Community. (Fill in a short form. Podiant will assess your application and if your show meets the criteria, you’ll get free hosting.)
  • Transfer your podcast to another host (via the “cancel subscription” link – which Podiant will add in the next few days.)

Podiant explains the Community criteria on their blog. The key point is: “Basically all we’re looking to know is whether your podcast serves a community that isn’t already being served well. It doesn’t have to be a lofty goal, but if your show is you and a buddy discussing football or the latest Marvel movies, you probably won’t be eligible. Sorry.”

If you do not want to, or cannot, upgrade to the new Podiant plans, you have 90 days (from the point where the changes go live) to find a new host, should your Community application be denied.

Spreaker Updated their Embedded Player

Spreaker announced that they have updated their embedded player. The new, cleaner, version allows podcasters to customize the player to fit with their brand.

Guiding your listeners to your homebase to listen to your podcast allows you to keep your branding and distribution exactly how you want it. Even your chosen font on your website is connected to your distinctive look. The updated player is therefore geared for that level of customization, providing a white label solution with the option to remove the Spreaker logo.

To customize the Spreaker embedded player, podcasters must start at Spreaker’s CMS. You can choose to remove Spreaker’s logo if you want to. This feature is for those who feel Spreaker’s logo clashes with their background image, or who prefer not to have any text displayed other than the episode title.

Another update to the embedded player allows you to remove the comments, likes, and share icons. Spreaker wisely points out: “If you like to think of your website as a space for a deeper engagement with your content, it’s worth considering that removing buttons can actually help you keep people on the website, listening to the player while they navigate through the pages.”

Other features of the new embedded player include:

  • Ability to add a background picture to the player – Choose one that reflects your topic, or select a selfie.
  • Ability to choose light or dark themes – To keep the player matching the tone of your website.
  • Ability to choose to allow all of you content to start playing automatically when a LIVE starts.
  • WordPress users can add the Spreaker embedded player without needing a special plug-in.

Podomatic Partnered with Weebly

Podomatic, a podcast publishing and hosting platform, has partnered with Weebly, a website builder. Together, they will help podcasters create brilliant podcasts and websites that work across any device.

To help podcasters succeed, Podomatic is offering professional website building capabilities. Now, Podomatic top level accounts can create a high quality website and store that works brilliantly across any device.

This new feature is included in the price of the hosting and publishing service on top level accounts and provided at no additional cost. It allows code-free website editing and building, as well as provides an e-commerce platform.

Podomatic provides all the tools you need to manage your podcast and your site under one account. Some of the benefits of the new service include:

  • Automatic sync between your podcast and your website. Podomatic Weebly apps are tailor made for your podcast.
  • Themes created exclusively for Podomatic podcasters.
  • Easy management of your entire podcast. One account to rule them all! Now manage your podcast and website under one Podomatic account.

At the time I am writing this, Podomatic is offering their most popular podcasting plan at 75% off the usual price. For a limited time, you can get their PRO plan for only $2.50 a month. (Usually, the price is $8.32 per month).

Deadly Manners is a Dark Comedy Murder-Mystery Podcast

Deadly Manners is a 10 episode, dark comedy murder-mystery podcast. It is set in the winter of 1954. At the time I am writing this, four episodes have been released. You will probably recognize some of the names of the people who are doing the voice acting in this podcast.

It follows the events during the night of the affluent Billings family annual dinner party with their distinguished, eccentric guests. However, all is not fun and games as shortly after the party starts, a snowstorm begins to rage outside, trapping all the partygoers inside their host’s mansion. When a murder starts killing off those in attendance, the guests must figure out who is responsible, or at least how to stay alive – lest they be next.

The creators of Deadly Manners are Ali Garfinkel (writer) and Alex Aldea (producer). Both are of the podcast company The Paragon Collecive.

The narrator of Deadly Manners is LeVar Burton. The podcast stars Kristen Bell, Denis O’Hare, Alisha Boe, RuPaul, Anna Chlumsky, Timothy Simons, Michelle Visage, Alona Tal, and David Cummings.

Deadly Manners premiered exclusively on AMC Network’s streaming platforms Sundance Now and Shudder on October 3, 2017. Since then, the podcast has become available from its website, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and various other places where podcasts are found.